The claims of Jesus were astonishing. They were shocking. They were really outrageous claims. Jesus looked no different from any other Galilean man. He most likely had a Galilean accent and His deity was completely invisible. What was visible was His humanity. There was no way to see Him any different than you would see any other man. But no one made the claims He made.
Jesus said that He had come down from heaven, and that He eternally existed, and that He was sent into the world by the Father. He claimed to be the Savior of the world and the only Savior of the world. He claimed to be the judge of everyone's eternal destiny. He claimed to be the source of everlasting life, and the only source. And He claimed to be the only way to the Kingdom.
But Jesus was largely rejected. Only 120 people showed up in the upper room on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came. When Jesus was called before the Sanhedrin at his trial, they said to Him, "If you are the Messiah, tell us." He had told them again and again but they still didn't believe. In John 8:48, the Jews said, “Didn’t we say all along that you are a Samaritan and are possessed by a demon?”
Now, as we approach John 7:14, Jesus leaves Galilee after seven quiet months of training the Twelve. Yes, there were some public ministries, miracles and teaching, but primarily his emphasis was with the Twelve and He stayed in the areas far north, to give time to prepare them. But now in the midst of the feast He goes to Jerusalem and He began to teach. Then He reenters Jerusalem.
Remember He didn’t go when everybody went to the Feast of Tabernacles. He waited until the middle of the week because He knew the rulers wanted to kill him. John 7:1, they were seeking to kill Him. And when the feast was just beginning, they were looking for Him. But He didn’t go. Well, He waits till midweek and then He goes. When the people are all there, He shows up.
Jesus took a secret journey through Samaria recorded in Luke. He reenters secretly. At the right moment, He walks into the Temple. The time was 29 A.D. if you want to be precise, this would be around October 15th, the time of the Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Booths, which commemorates their wilderness wandering when they dwelled in booths for those 40 years.
Jesus faced the world that hated Him. He faces Jerusalem, where the leaders are already determined to execute him. Jerusalem is now filled with masses of people, pilgrims who have come from everywhere. Those Jews from other countries have all come back for one of the three feasts a year. They had to be in Jerusalem. Well, in the middle of the week Jesus shows up unexpectedly.
So the Jews are neutralized by the crowd and the public exposure that Jesus already has. This is His time. His time is so precise that back in verse 6, he wouldn’t go a few days earlier, because he said, "My time is not yet here." In verse 8, "My time has not yet fully come." When we're talking about time, we're talking about hours and days. He was on that kind of heavenly schedule.
Verse 14, “Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach.” Back in verse 12, there was grumbling among the crowd, they were murmuring, saying where is He and what is He and who is He? He's a good man. Others say, no, on the contrary He leads people astray. He was the topic of conversation even though He wasn’t there. And now He came.
The leaders would have wanted to arrest him, and they made an attempt at it, over in verse 32. But they did not succeed. Verse 44-46, “Some of them wanted to seize Him; no one laid hands on Him. 45 When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring Him in?” 46 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
And in this passage, Jesus provides five reasons to believe His claims. So here is another opportunity in which He will teach them the truth and call them to put their trust in Him. Reason number one, the divine source of His teaching. Every day there were rabbis all over that place teaching on a daily basis. And at the Feast there was a great many classes going on in that open-air courtyard.
And in order to give authority to what they said, they quoted other rabbis. This validated what they said, so that people wouldn’t think they invented it. And secondly, it kept them in the tradition. But that is not what Jesus did. Matthew 7:28 - 29, “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, 29 for He taught with real authority, unlike their teachers of religious law.”
So verse 15, “The people were surprised when they heard Him. “How does he know so much when He hasn’t been trained?” they asked. So they acknowledged His knowledge. It was beyond anybody else. Even the temple police, who regularly would have heard the teaching of rabbis, they never heard anybody like this. No one spoke like Jesus. It was a level of wisdom, a level of understanding without equal.
The people are shocked by this flawless, in-depth instruction, the likes of which they have never heard. Jesus doesn’t quote rabbis. He doesn’t validate his teaching by any human source. He doesn’t connect with their tradition. They're overwhelmed by the lucidity of it, the clarity of it, the truthfulness of it, and the reality of it. So how are they going to discredit Him?
So they attack Him, not his teaching. They question where He learned this. They didn’t want to argue or to debate Him. So they tried to discredit Him by calling into question His lack of training. At another time, they said, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" So they attacked His hometown. But they knew every time they did enter into a confrontation with Him, they were humiliated.
Verse 16, “So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.” I'm not quoting rabbis, I'm quoting God. This is an indictment of the Jewish leaders and their endless circular quotations of rabbis who quoted rabbis. He says, "You're right. This is divine knowledge. This is truth. It comes from God." And that implies that the rabbis' teaching came from men, not God.
Listen to John 17:8 where Jesus speaking to the Father, “for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.” The divine source of his teaching is the first reason to believe the claims of Jesus. And at the same time, an indictment of those who do not speak for God. How vast is his knowledge? He knows the mind of God!
Secondly, a desire to do God's will. This is critical to the sinner. This is the test. Say it another way, his promise is that if a person desires to do the will of God, he would know the truth. Look at verse 17, “Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.” Coming to Christ is motivated by your desire to do for God what He commands.
This is where salvation begins. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin and righteousness is shown in judgment. The sinner is weary of his sin and wretchedness, of the nature of it and the consequence of it; so becomes a seeker. What he wants is to do the will of God. This is about confessing Jesus as Lord and coming out from under the dominance of sin, to the mastery of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So gospel truth is not obtained by debate. You don’t even win by rational defense, even though you can rationally defend the Bible. What draws people to the gospel and to Christ is a desire to do the will of God. God exists. He is sovereign. He is the judge and the executioner. If I'm alienated from God, than I'm an enemy of God. I need to submit to God. I want freedom. I want a new master.
This is how faith acts. What is saving faith? It is the desire to put your trust in Jesus Christ as to do the will of God. It requires believing. God told Israel through Moses these words, “If you seek the Lord your God, you shall find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul." Psalm 119:2, "Blessed are they that seek Him with their whole heart."
In Luke 9:23 Jesus says, "If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way. Take up your cross daily and follow Me.” That's seems the opposite of seeking with your whole heart, but it is not. Hate your sinful life. Be willing to give up all what you possess. Sell all to buy the pearl and that great treasure. God does not grant an understanding of truth until a person is willing to obey that truth.
The third reason to believe His claims is His respect for the Father's glory. False teachers are all in it for personal gain. They do it for money. They do it for power. They do it for prominence. False teachers steal of the sheep. Jesus makes it clear, when He talks about it in John 10. What was the problem with these Pharisees, these Jewish leaders? They didn’t seek the glory of God.
Verse 18, “Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.” Jesus only sought the glory of God. He's the one who humbles himself in love. He is the one who bears others people’s burdens. He is the one who seeks no money, has no home, takes nothing, and gives everything, even Himself.
The fourth reason is His declaration of man's sinfulness. In verses 19 - 20, he goes right to the heart of the matter. He says, “Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.” 20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” Yes, of course Moses gave us the Law. Matthew 23:2 says. “They loved Moses.” But none of you carries out the Law.
That is the most comprehensive, accurate statement regarding human sinfulness. None of you people obey the Law. Romans 3:10 says, “There's none righteous. No, not one.” Galatians 3:10, if you break one law, you have broken the whole Law and you are cursed. The legalists were all lawbreakers. The Law of Moses was never intended to save. It was intended to condemn.
It was intended to drive sinners to an overwhelming fear of divine judgment that would cause them to repent, cry out for mercy and grace from God. And then to put their trust in the only savior, Jesus Christ. Romans 10:4 says, "Jesus Christ is the end of the law for salvation." And there at the end of the law, when the law has given its verdict, stands Christ to give the salvation not available in the Law.
They would say, "What do you mean none of us carries out the Law?" So Jesus gets specific. “Why do you seek to kill me?” Their outrageous treatment of Jesus, seeking to murder Him, was a clear violation of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:13, you shall not murder. According to John 8:44 they were blasphemous, murderous unworthy disciples of Moses, whose father was the devil.
So Jesus indicts them. The crowd aren't all aware of this murderous intent. So they say, "You have a demon who seeks to kill you." But Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Six months later when they all show up again for the next feast, which is Passover, according to Mark 15:11-15, they are all screaming for His blood.
Number five, His deeds of righteousness. Verse 21, “Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed.” In John 5, He went to the pool of Bethesda to heal the man that was there for many years. And the Jews went crazy because He did it on the Sabbath and they condemned it. And it says they sought to kill Him because He violated the Sabbath and said that God was his father.
Nobody denied any of His miracles. Everybody saw it. The leaders never denied it. To show how wrong they were, how can you reject a miracle, and the display of the goodness of God on the Sabbath? Then Jesus takes it a little further in verse 22, “But you work on the Sabbath, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. This tradition of circumcision actually began long before the law of Moses.”
It goes back to Genesis 17, back to Abraham. On the Sabbath, you still circumcise a man. Why do they do it on the Sabbath? Because it had to be done on the eighth day. So they violated their own tradition about work on the Sabbath, because they had a law that they needed to follow. So if necessary, the Sabbath could be set aside for something more important, another level of obedience.
Then Jesus says in verse 23, “For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the Law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath?” How wrong are you! And you want to kill me for that when you yourselves violate your own ordinance because you think circumcision is more important.
Doing good, showing mercy and kindness takes precedence over the restriction of Sabbath rest. Do not look at the hypocrisy of these leaders. Look at the power that I have displayed. Verse 24, "Stop judging according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” They had spent their whole life judging on appearance. That's what hypocrites do. Stop that and judge righteously. Let us pray.